HOUSTON - On Wednesday, Houston City Council approved $100,000 to buy 14 new surveillance cameras they hope will help stop illegal dumping.
The new cameras will join the existing 25 cameras that City Council bought in May 2015. Those cameras are spread across five council districts and are periodically moved within each district.
Between January 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017, officials with the Harris County Precinct One Constable’s office say those cameras have helped open 617 cases, resulting in 349 charges.
The 14 new cameras will be placed primarily in Council Districts B and D, which cover North and Southeast Houston; including neighborhoods like Acres Homes, Third Ward, and Sunnyside that have been battling the problem for years.
The cameras have high video quality, are able to zoom in and out, and can clearly make out license plates, even in the dark.
Precinct 1 Constable Alan Rosen has previously said he’s seen everyone from teenagers to people in their 80s dumping items illegally.
In January, Constable Rosen told KHOU 11 that both uniformed and undercover deputies patrol dumping areas, and many have feeds to the cameras in their cars.
On Wednesday, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said he hopes the new cameras will make a dent in the problem.
“I’d like to say that we’re making some headway, but it’s going to be an ongoing effort,” said Mayor Turner. “For the life of me, it doesn’t make any sense for people to just go and just dump their trash anyway. ‘Disappointing’ is not a strong enough term.”
The $100,000 price tag for the new cameras was paid for with dollars given to each council district for community projects.
Anyone caught illegally dumping and convicted could face up to 30 days in jail and a $4,000 fine.